Celebrity chef Guy Fieri buys $4 million waterfront home in Lake Worth Beach

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A superstar chef with hallmark stabs of blonde hair bought a waterfront home in Lake Worth Beach last year, adding a celebrity cachet to the funky arts town that is normally reserved for tony Palm Beach.

Guy Fieri, star of myriad cooking shows, purchased the home on secluded Bella Vista Avenue in March 2021 for a recorded $3.9 million, according to neighbors and three Realtors familiar with the sale.

The buyer in official Palm Beach County records is a limited liability company called Gus Ritchie 1 — a possible play on the names Gus Ferrari and Guy Ritchie, which Fieri has said fans have called him by mistake.

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View of lakefront home purchased recently by Guy Fieri, Thursday in Lake Worth Beach.
View of lakefront home purchased recently by Guy Fieri, Thursday in Lake Worth Beach.

Fieri’s 7,400-square-foot Lake Worth Beach property is in an exclusive seven-home gated community north of the municipal golf course. It was built in 2001 but a description on real estate site Movoto says there was a $1.2 million renovation in 2010. It has five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a resort-style pool, outdoor kitchen, fireplace elevator, hurricane impact windows and a dock that can accommodate a 100-foot yacht.

The celebrity chef's investment should further raise the county's profile among foodies. New York restaurateurs Bobby Khorrami, Meso, The Harrow and The Tillage, and Dean Poll, Gallaghers Steakhouse of New York, are among the famed in the U.S. culinary world who have announced ventures here in just the past year.

And this week, two chefs with Palm Beach County restaurants are among the contenders for this year’s coveted James Beard Awards, a prize that’s often called “the Oscars of food.” Palm Beach chef Clay Conley, who revolutionized the island’s dining scene when he opened Buccan modern bistro in 2011, is a semifinalist for “Best Chef” in the South. Also a contender is Jeremy Ford, the Miami-based celebrity chef who recently opened The Butcher’s Club steakhouse at the PGA National Resort.

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View of lakefront home purchased recently by Guy Fieri, Thursday in Lake Worth Beach.
View of lakefront home purchased recently by Guy Fieri, Thursday in Lake Worth Beach.

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Fieri is being celebrated this week at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, but it was a year ago this month that he was in Palm Beach County visiting three restaurants for his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” series and stopping by the Lake Worth Beach pier where he posed for a picture with former city commission candidate Richard Guercio.

“Seen at our beach today, seemingly checking things out. Is there a Johnny Garlic in Lake Worth’s future?” Guercio asked in the photo caption on his Facebook page.

Longtime residents and business owners in Lake Worth Beach, which is affectionally nicknamed L-Dub, said Fieri’s purchase may signal a rising tide of economic growth as people are squeezed out of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach by pandemic-hastened migration south.

“We seem to take three steps forward and two steps back,” said resident Greg Rice about Lake Worth Beach. “The political whims of whoever the elected parties are at the time seem to swing completely from left to right.”

But Rice, marketing director at Hulett Environmental Services and star of its playful TV commercials, noted a buzz of recent activity spurred in part by the 2019 name change that turned Lake Worth into Lake Worth Beach. The switch was meant to highlight the city’s municipal beach and pier, especially to tourists.

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Rice said there is renewed hope for the beleaguered Gulfstream Hotel with a St. Louis-based husband-and-wife team leading a renovation of the nearly 100-year-old building. Also, new restaurants, including a Cuban eatery and seafood restaurant, are adding to downtown Lake Worth Beach’s dining options, Rice said.

“I think he will open a restaurant in Lake Worth Beach,” Rice said about Fieri. “Lake Worth Beach has more opportunity than it’s ever had and I hope we steer it in the right direction.”

A Fieri neighbor in Lake Worth Beachis Olympia Bishop, sister to actress Brook Shields.

And his view across the Lake Worth Lagoon is of well-heeled Palm Beach.

“We’re right off the island and people can get a much better buy here but still be near the beach,” said Andy Amoroso, former Lake Worth Beach vice mayor and owner of the Tacky Tourist shop in downtown. “People sell their brownstone in New York and New Jersey for 5, 6, 7 million dollars so a million dollars down here is nothing to them.”

In the past two years, seven waterfront homes within a quarter-mile radius of Fieri’s new digs sold for between $1 million and $4.5 million.

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Still, that’s a bargain compared to trying to buy in Palm Beach.

Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone paid a recorded $35.375 million in December 2020 for a waterfront estate on the Lake Worth Lagoon side of Palm Beach.

Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger paid a recorded $9 million for a home with no waterfront in March 2021.

In April 2021, Fox News pundit Sean Hannity paid $5.3 million for a beachfront townhome built in 1981 on the south end of the island.

It's likely Fieri could afford Palm Beach after signing a three-year deal with the Food Network worth $80 million last year, according to Forbes. But a pandemic buying-spree has left a dearth of inventory on the island.

“If there’s not a spot left on the island, you have to look elsewhere and that’s where we have benefited in West Palm Beach and that’s where Lake Worth Beach will also benefit,” said Dennis Grady, who served 35 years as president and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches before retiring last year.

Richard J Guercio poses with Guy Fieri on Lake Worth Beach on Friday, Feb. 26.
Richard J Guercio poses with Guy Fieri on Lake Worth Beach on Friday, Feb. 26.

Grady said Fieri buying in Lake Worth Beach is significant, not just because of his celebrity but because it signals that the city is being suggested by Realtors and recommended through word-of-mouth as a place where “you can do what you want to do and still interface with friends on the island.”

In addition to Fieri’s visit to Lake Worth Beach last year, he profiled the now closed Havana Hideout on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" in 2009.

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His 2021 Palm Beach County tour included West Palm Beach’s Cholo Soy Cocina and The Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill. Fieri also stopped last year at the Coolinary Café in northern Palm Beach Gardens.

South Beach Wine and Food Festival founder and director Lee Brian Schrager told The Post for an article about the event this week that Fieri has a “cult-like following.”

“People listen to what Guy says,” Schrager said. “Rachael Ray was the girl next door. Guy is the guy next door.”

Fieri's Lake Worth Beach home is not homesteaded – a sign that he's not planning on becoming a full-time Sunshine State resident just yet. He told the Bradenton Herald last year his family will stay in Northern California at least until his youngest son Ryder finishes high school.

Realtors said there was a rumor that Fieri bought a newly-built home in West Palm Beach at Forest Hill Boulevard and Flagler Drive. The signature house is labeled “flavortown” – a favorite Fieri catchphrase – on Google maps, but the real deal is in Lake Worth Beach.

Kmiller@pbpost.com

@Kmillerweather

Aclough@pbpost.com

@Acloughpbp

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Food Network Guy Fieri buys home in Palm Beach County in Lake Worth